Overview of Corinne

Recent Posts

Breadth vs. Depth

Hi Zinar7, I was in a completely different field, and being in the humanities meant that  I didn't have experiments to carry out, lab work etc. Nonethelss, my topic and research questions were quite broad at the beginning, and the obvious problem was indeed how to narrow down the focus.

In the end, the material the I found (e.g. archival documents) provided the focus for my research, although the real meaning and implications of what I had found became completly clear only when I pulled together all the chapters and started to write the conclusion.

So, I wouldn't be overly concerned at this stage. You are still working and getting results, and remember, what you don't find is as revealing as what you find!

What I would suggest is to write as you go along, even if you think that at this stage is a waste of time. Believe me, it's not!


Thank you Ady,

I didn't think that the post-viva period could be more stressful than the viva itself!

If you think that I handed the final draft of my thesis to my supervisor in early March, for the last few comments, it makes 6 months of: 1) getting the monster printed and bound, 2) submit soft copies to Registry; 3) wait 3 months for the viva, 4) carry out the corrections; 5) wait for feedback from the examiners, etc.

We tend to see the viva as the final step - and for people who don't get any correction at all, it is - but for the majority of us, this is a further step, and it is so hard. You are so near the end, but still there is something lingering around...

Anyway, enough of moaning. How is your work going?


I am in the same boat really. I understand that I won't get any news until the end of the month, which makes the deadline for graduation in November, very tight. A few days delay could mean that I won't be able to graduate untiil July. What was the point to submit in early May?? AAAAAARRRRGGGHHH!!!!

Equations in word AAAGH!

I can only sympathize, as I am not in your field. But I made some nice reconstructions of buildings using photos and power point, to discover that while in word they were fine, in PDF they were all scrambled up!

Could you put the image on a separate page altogether? Word probably thinks that you are overwriting on that picture and that's why it doesn't print your equation. If you double click on your image you should see the real picture-field, that is the real portion of the page that this covers (e.g. there might be several mm. of white border around your image that you cannot see on your word document, but that actually cover the page).

If this is the case, you can "cut" this border out using photoshop. I can tell you how to do it, if this the problem.

Resubmission fees - should I have to pay them?

Sorry to hear that you had to go through such a difficult time. Stories like yours are however more common than you might think.
My first supervisor too left at the very beginning of my PhD and i decided to stay. My second supervisor was not a specialist in my area, and was also a very easily manipulated person, always entangled in politics. It was a difficult journey, but luckily I got to the end of it.

As far as I know, at least in my Uni, after year 3 you pay lower fees (around £ 100 here) for your writing-up period. You are not entitled to supervision during this time, although any responsible supervisor would continue to do so, as it is the most difficult time for a student.

Equally, if you get major corrections at your viva with re-submission required, there is another fee to pay. It sounds unfair, given your situation, that you must pay for this, but I am afraid that there is little you can do about it. Even if your revised thesis is considered good you may not be allowed to graduate if you owe money to the university.

I suppose that there might be grounds to argue with administration, or for an academic appeal, etc. but do you really want to pursue this avenue at this stage?
If paying this fee is all you need to do to complete, I would pay it, even if it is frustrating after all you had to go through. An appeal could go on for a couple of years before they reach a conclusion that could also be unfavourable to you.


quitting phd

Well, if you are really sure that you want to go ahead and leave your PhD, I think that you should let your supervisor know first. I understand that it is tough, but it must be done, especially if you got your funding through him.

Even if you work in industry afterwards you may need references from him, so it is better to have an open but civil discussion with him before you leave (e.g. you don't feel that academic life is for you, etc).

Then I would enquire how to proceed - ask your departmental secretary, she should be able to address you to the right office/ person.

quitting phd

I don't know how it works in other countries, but in the UK you must formally withdraw from your studies, and it is Postgraduate Registry that deals with these issues. Obviously you should inform your supervisor as well.

As you are funded, you should also inform your research council as soon as possible with a letter sent by registered post.

Advice, personal :-(

Hello Ginandjazz,

I am so , so sorry about your situation. It must be very hard for you. I agree with Delta though. I wouldn't rush up things. Do speak to your partner first, and also to your supervisors/ HoD.

Would you consider suspending your studies for a few months? I imagine that your department won't be very happy about it, but realistically do you think you would be in the shape to focus on PhD work anyway?

The suggestion about counselling is also very good. I would definitely try it. Talking to a person who is not emotionally involved, but understands your position and responsibilities, might be of help.

In the meantime: how do you keep contact with your partner and his family? Do you have any chance to Skype? I find it so much better than simple phone calls.

I send you a virtual hug.


I can relate to your post. In a previous life I used to be a teacher, and a student's success was my success. Helping someone to move forward in life gives you a great sense of usefulness and personal achievement. It feels very rewarding.

Formatting woes

======= Date Modified 07 Sep 2011 13:23:14 =======
If you click on "page layout" in your toolbar, and then you click on the tiny arrow on the bottom right corner of the "page layout" task pane, a dialog box should appear. It should show the page orientation. click on whatever of the two options you need, then click on "apply", and here you have two options: "whole document" or "this point forward". Select the last. You can return to the portrait orientation after you have inserted your table, by using the same system.

Securing feedback from your supervisors

Thanks Delta. I understand your frustration, as I have been there. I had a similar problem, as I wasn't very happy with my first two chapters.
In the end I didn't have to change anything either in the structure or argument. I still think that those two chapters could have been improved, but in the end I must recognise that you cannot expect every page of your thesis to be an example of perfection.

However, if you really think that there are major issues there that can affect the final result, you might try to be persistent. Send an e-mail to both your supervisors explaining clearly what are your difficulties there, and that you really need their help to overcome this last issue by day x. If you don't get any reply you will either have to look for help somewhere else, or go ahead by yourself, I am afraid.

Securing feedback from your supervisors

Hi Delta. I had two supervisors. One (the non-specialist) provided timely (within two weeks), but useless feedback. The other (specialist) took a year to read three chapters. Any attempt to push for more went unheard. In the end I had enough of waiting and submitted -with their signature, but without proper feedback from neither of them. I never repented that choice, but I know that these are tricky situations. I would probably still be here waiting for attention otherwise, but then this lovely person phoned me to congratulate when I passed the viva with minor corrections!

How is the rest of your thesis? I mean: do you have a full draft completed? Is there anyone else who can help you? Do you have a deadline for submission yet?

Aiming to finish off by 31st December! Is there anyone else?

Hi Pineaplle29. First of all, be kind to yourself. I wouldn't be surprised if your health is not good due to stress. I have been in that position for a while. You are unwell, and unable to work properly, but if you don't you feel guilty, hence more stress and more health problems... Bear in mind that you can achieve a lot in a day if you feel well and have a clear mind. So, you have plenty of time ahead, and you are doing the right things.

Looking at other successful theses is very, very useful. I didn't get much useful feedback from my supervisor, and this is how I managed to shape my thesis in the end: I looked at other theses - how they were structured, how arguments were built, etc.

I personally feel that the post-viva time is more stressful than the writing-up. I completed my corrections weeks ago, but still didn't hear anything about them yet. It is more about surviving the marathon rather than the research process that is difficult. But you will get there, no doubt. Every day is a little bit less that you are going to do tomorrow, and eventually you realise that you ticked off all the points in your list!

Suffering from depression

I found these two websites that might be of help to overcome negative thinking:



Post-viva panic attacks, I don't understand what's going on :(

I think that your reaction is perfectly normal. You have been going through a very stressful period, completing your PhD in record time, and getting a new job as well. This is all very exciting, but now that your adrenaline is not as high as it used to be your body needs to rest.

Also, the new job is great, but obviously it is a completely new situation you need to adjust to. New house, new friends, new colleagues etc. It is quite understanding that while this is exciting, it might also concern you.

These are all major changes in your life that take time to process and adapt to. So, be kind to yourself. Try to establish a support network as soon as possible, as the others suggested, and don't be ashamed to discuss your fears with your boyfriend/ family/ friends. They are not going to love you any less because you show that you need their help.

You have a new wonderful project ahead of you, but like for the elephant-PhD, it needs to be eaten in small chunks!